|Starters:||Matt Warrick #51 Jr.||Max Blue #44 Sr.|
|Back ups:||Caleb King #57 Sr.||Matt Brewer #38 Jr.|
|Third String:||John Michael
Nurthen #40 Jr.
|Shawn Reed #33 So.|
|Players to Watch:||Mike Huf #21 So.||Vinnie Mauro #45 So.|
Matt Warrick started the last two games of the 2010 season. Warrick was converted from slotback to inside linebacker last spring. He moved up the depth chart and made his first start against Army. In the ultimate rivalry game he had 13 tackles and nearly intercepted a pass. At 6-2, 223 pounds, Warrick has excellent size and is one of the fastest linebackers on the team. Warrick made five tackles in the week three scrimmage.
Senior Max Blue returns to reclaim his starting job after missing the last three games of the 2010 season due to a neck injury. Blue finished sixth on the team in tackles with 58 despite missing five games. Blue isn't very big (6-0, 200) but is instinctive, reads plays well and is a heavy hitter. Blue sat out the Blue & Gold game and didn't hit this spring due to his neck. He also had wrist surgery in the off season.
Senior Caleb King was the hero of the Blue & Gold game when he recovered a loose ball in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. King (6-0, 223) started at inside linebacker last year but lost his job because he missed too many tackles. King is an aggressive player who can at times over pursue the play. King, who had four tackles in the Blue & Gold game, looked quicker this spring after dropping weight in the off season.
Matt Brewer (6-0, 228) after playing on special teams last year is now the back up inside linebacker. Brewer, a junior, is very intense, physical and a huge hitter. He is a collision waiting to happen. However, to become a starter he has to learn how to play his assignments and improve his pass drops.
John Michael Nurthen is a 6-2, 217 pound junior linebacker from Pennsylvania. In the week two scrimmage Michael Nurthen led the team with eight tackles. Known around the team for his sense of humor, Nurthern showed his play is no laughing matter as he earned a spot on the three deep. Sophomore Shawn Reed won the third string SAM linebacker spot. Reed was the defensive MVP and leading tackler at NAPS in 2009. Reed (6-1, 210) is a very active, aggressive and sure tackler.
Two players to watch inside are sophomores Michael Huf and Vinnie Mauro. Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 242 pounds, Huf is a relatively huge inside linebacker for a Navy. He plays faster than he times and covers a lot of ground. Huf is very physical and can stack up the running game at the point of attack. In the Blue & Gold game Huf concluded a very good spring by leading the Gold with seven tackles.
Vinnie Mauro was one of the highest ranked Navy recruits over the last decade. Mauro, who is 6-2, 220 pounds, was one of the top rated linebacker prospects in Florida in 2010. Mauro injured his back last summer which hurt his development since he wasn't able to practice all year. Mauro is a terrific athlete who, because of good quickness and speed, is able to fly to the ball. Right now he is buried on the depth chart but if healthy he can make a move next spring.